Spotlight | Old Navy | Democracy in COVID times

Nancy Green, President of American retail company, Old Navy, has put out a call to CEO’s to pay their employees to work the ballots in the upcoming 2020 election. Currently there is an estimated shortage of 500,000 new poll volunteers needed to run the upcoming election. As Nancy points out in her recent piece on CNN Business, this is due to the fact that typically, many poll volunteers are over 60 years old – an at-risk demographic for COVID-19. 

The consequences of a volunteer shortage in ballots are varied, but one particularly important consideration is that less people running the ballots, results in longer wait times in line which is not feasible for working parents, students, or anybody working on a busy schedule. Recognizing this need, and acknowledging that Old Navy has 50,000 employees in stores, the brand saw an opportunity to help. Old Navy felt the responsibility to offer its employees the option to engage in civic action without concerns of missing pay. 

Old Navy partnered with a nonpartisan coalition of businesses involved in civic action, Civic Alliance, and with Power the Polls, a nonpartisan initiative with the goal of recruiting poll workers to facilitate involvement for any employees who would like to participate. For those who cannot, Old Navy has offered 3 hours of paid time off to ensure all its employees are able to vote. 

Old Navy’s commitment to doing its part in this upcoming election is admirable, motivating its employees to take action and exercise their right to vote. By calling other CEO’s to do the same, Old Navy recognizes the power that consumer brands hold in encouraging customers, employees and the general public to mobilize and have a positive social impact.